October 24, 2014

Medina
Mostly sunny
60°F

Seville Library uses therapy dogs to help build children’s reading skills

SEVILLE — A retired Lodi Primary psychologist is helping kids in the community with two of her Shetland sheepdogs.

Four-year-old Dani Wiley of Montville Township poses with Teddy, an 8-year-old Shetland sheepdog, at Seville Library on Tuesday afternoon. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LISA HLAVINKA)

Four-year-old Dani Wiley of Montville Township poses with Teddy, an 8-year-old Shetland sheepdog, at Seville Library on Tuesday afternoon. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LISA HLAVINKA)

Caroline Fazio, of Medina, brings her therapy shelties to Seville Library once a month for “Sit, Stay, Read,” a program that allows young children to read to her pups and in turn helps the kids become more comfortable reading aloud in the classroom.

“It basically builds the child’s confidence in reading,” Fazio said. “A dog won’t criticize if you get a word wrong. He’ll just sit and listen.”

Fazio also brings 8-year­-old Teddy and 1-year-old Ste­vie to local nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to volunteer with the elderly.

Her work with the elderly began when she took Teddy on regular visits to a 90-year-­old man’s home.

“I think dogs have a gentle­ness that draws them to chil­dren and other people like the elderly,” she said. “It makes people smile and cheers them up.”

Teddy was certified as a therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International in 2006. She said the dogs also have extensive obedience training and socialization with people of all ages.

Stevie is still in training as a therapy dog.

Fazio also works with a Lodi Primary guidance counselor to bring Teddy to the school and work one on one or in small groups of children.

“The people enjoy it, and any opportunity to socialize the dogs and meet new people is good for both dogs,” she said.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.